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of Israel. We are come to God the Judge of all, because we are taken out of the world of the ungodly, who are aliens, to be subject to his laws, and consequently to be under his government. It is true that all the world are under the authority of God; but then all are not related to him as citizens and subjects. In this respect, God was said to be nigher to the Jews than to any nation upon earth, because he was with them as their judge and protector. We have our Jesus, as they had their Moses; both of them mediators, to stand between God and the people. The Hebrews were not permitted to draw near to God to treat for themselves on pain of death; but Moses was to be between them, as Christ is now betwixt us and God, and no man can come to the Father but by him: and in his blood we have remission, as all things were purified under the law, and nothing accepted or sanctified without the blood of sprinkling; which speaketh better things than that of Abel; for the blood of Abel cried for vengeance, this for mercy and pardon.
Thus is our society on like terms with theirs in every respect: and to these particulars I may add, that as the congregation of Israel on great and solemn occasions was called together by the
• sound sound of a trumpet, so shall the great assembly of all nations, all the tribes of the earth, and we ourselves among the rest, be summoned after the same form: the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised: and then we shall see with our eyes what that great society is, in the which we now live by faith.
There are many particular institutions remaining, some of a religious, some of a moral, and others of a civil nature; a few of the most useful of which I must select, and shew how the scripture has applied them.
The sabbath, which succeeds the labours of the week, appears to have been appointed from the beginning as a perpetual sign, a sign forever*, of that happy Rest which the servants of God are to expect after the labours of this life. For thus the apostle hath reasoned about it; that being called the Rest of God, it cannot be of an earthly, but must be of an heavenly nature; for God doth not rest upon earth where men labour. He shews that the true rest promised to the faithful was not the sabbath that was appointed after God had finished his works; nor yet the state of rest, so called, in the land of Canaan; because the promise is still suspended, aud repeated again in the time of
David: * Exodus xxxi. 17.
David: whence he concludes that it was a rest never yet fulfilled in this life, but still remaining for the people of God, and into which the faithful enter when they die in the Lord and rest from their labours. I say no more of this here, because I have considered the subject more at large in my lectures on the epistle to the Hebrews, to which it properly belongs.
Circumcision was that rite of the law by which the Israelites were taken into God's covenant; and (in the spirit of it) was the same as baptism among Christians. For as the form of baptism expresses the putting away of sin; circumcision was another form to the same effect. The scripture speaks of a circumcision made without hands, of which that made with hands was no more than an outward sign, which denoted the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh*, and becoming a new creature; which is the sense of our baptism. Of this inward and spiritual grace of circumcision the apostle speaks expressly in another place; he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter f, Some may suppose that
this • Col. ii. n. + Rom. ii. 28.
this spiritual application of circumcision, as a Sacrament, was invented after the preaching of the gospel, when the veil Was taken from the law; but th'19 doctrine was only inforced to those who had it before; and had departed from the sense of their own law: for thus did Moses instruct the Jews, that there is a foreskin of the heart which was to be circumcised in a moral or spiritual way, before they could be accepted as the servants of God; and again, that the? Lord would circumcise their heart, to love him with all their heart, and with all their soul* j which was the same as to say, that he would give them what circumcision signified, making them Jews inwardly, and giving them the inward grace with the outward sign; without which, the letter of baptism avails no more now than the letter of circumcision did then: and we may say of the one as it is said of the other^ "He is not a Christian which is one outwardly, "and baptism is not the putting away the filth "of the flesh by washing with water, but the "answer of a good conscience towards Godf" Nearly allied to this was the precept which forbad them to touch any dead carcase; and, in case of any such accident, enjoined a religious purification by water. Here apply the general
rule, * Deut. x. 16. aad xxx. 6. f i Pet. ill. 21.
rule, he is not a Jew ichich is one outwardly, and then you will understand, that outward defilement was not the thing to be feared, but the defilement of the mind, lest evil communications should corrupt good manners. This precept in its moral acceptation teaches that there is a certain relation between death, and sin, and pollution. For why do men die but for their sin? and also, that he who converses with such as are under the death of sin, that is, dead in spirit, dead to faith and holiness, will be defiled by their company, and will want washing; till which he will be unfit for the service of God. Thus the apostle himself explains the case; that as those 'who were unclean by touching a dead body, were purified with a lye made of the ashes of a sacrifice, so are our consciences to be purged from dead works to serve the living God*.
Another prohibition of the same nature is referred to for a like purpose, and the apostle thereby warns the Christians to avoid the society of the heathens; speaking in such terms as nothing but the law of Moses can truly explain: be yd not unequally yoked together with unbe~ lievers; borrowing his expression from that law which forbad the Jews to plough with an ox and Vol. iv. i an
* Compare Heb. ix. 13,14, with Numb. xix. 11, &c.